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Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for transport

Statement on air cargo security

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Following the meeting of the High-Level Group on Air Cargo Security

Brussels, 29 November 2010

Good afternoon. I wanted to update you on my meeting this morning with the high-level group on air cargo security. We agreed on the need for a common European response to the security threat uncovered three weeks ago. Why? First, because the threat is common: cargo is shipped through airports in all Member States. And ten of the top twenty cargo hubs are in Europe. Second, the cargo business is global. If we all put in place different rules, it will be difficult and also very costly to comply with the rules.

We will present a report to Council on Thursday with recommendations for action in three key areas:

  • strengthening cargo security controls

  • better coordination of actions and information within the EU

  • joint action at the international level

1. Strengthening cargo security controls

We need new rules on security controls of cargo and mail from third countries, so I intend to propose legislation early next year on transfer cargo originating outside the EU. We must also move more quickly to tighten EU requirements for supply chain security. We must expand inspection programmes, to ensure that these requirements are implemented properly.

2. Coordination of actions and information

Effective mechanisms should be in place to streamline the exchange of information. We need to inform each other quickly of specific threats and whenever emergency measures are taken. We also need to pool our knowledge of threats and risks, so that we can come to a joint EU risk assessment. A shared understanding of the risks we face is essential for agreeing on the right security measures to take.

3. Joint international action

The EU should further develop its close cooperation with international organisations in order to agree higher global security standards. Discussions on this with the International Civil Aviation Organization will take place next week. We should also make targeted funding available for capacity-building in those countries where we have the greatest concerns.

These three points set out action to be taken urgently over the coming months. Let me conclude with a more general consideration: We should not fall into the trap of overreacting with new across-the-board screening and control procedures. That would paralyze both the aviation industry and our economies which rely on fast and reliable air cargo services. That would be a victory for our opponents, who would probably still find another loophole somewhere. We must be confident but not complacent. With the strong commitment of EU institutions and Member States, we can strengthen Europe's response capability and increase our resilience against terrorism.

Thank you very much

See also : MEMO/10/625

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